BEDFORD -- Strong winds made it a challenging night for high school marching bands Tuesday as props and plumes threatened to blow away.
But experienced color guard members said unexpected weather is just part of the University Interscholastic League fall competition series.
"We have to fight harder for our flags a lot more," Birdville High School junior Melissa Henson said. "But we still get it done."
Fifteen schools competed in the UIL regional marching band competition at Pennington Field in Bedford. All three 4A bands -- Birdville, Seguin and Mansfield Summit high schools -- earned the top Division 1 rating to advance to area competition Oct. 29 in Carrollton. This year, bands classified as 1A, 2A or 4A can go on to state competition in November. Next year, 3A and 5A bands can advance to state.
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Arlington Seguin High School's show, "Africa: Ceremony, Song and Ritual," included tribal beats and costumes. Drum majors Brandon Bell and Rebecca Jones, both seniors, say their favorite part is the ending.
"She comes up and kills me with a voodoo stick then," Bell said of Jones. "It's a pretty fun show, and the brass sound is just so loud and powerful."
Mansfield Summit High School included a battle theme in its "Uprising" show, which featured a struggle between the color guard captain and the drum line captain.
Summit associate band director Shawn Hart said he was a bit nervous before the show as the school aims to make state for the first time.
"This is our playoffs," he said. "We've made it to area but not to state. That is the goal this year. So tonight is the first step for that, making it the biggest competition for us this year."
Other performances ranged from the serious -- Haltom's "Requiem" included a giant Grim Reaper on stilts -- to the sporty, like Mansfield Timberview High School's NASCAR-inspired show, called "The Need for Speed."
Although Tuesday night was the final UIL competition for most bands this year, that didn't lessen the excitement.
"We still march like it's a state year," said Trinity High School's Shazia Hussain, a flute player. "And I like seeing all the other bands perform that we don't get to see too often."
Eva-Marie Ayala, 817-390-7700